Empowering Survivors of Sexual Violence and Displacement
2017 | Mali
In 2012 Islamists and Tuareg rebels took over northern Mali and imposed a harsh regime on women. Hundreds of women were raped or publicly beaten. Thousands were driven from their homes after losing animals and crops. Forced marriage was used as a cover for rape.
The Bamako-based organisation Sini Sanuman was founded in 2002 to combat female genital mutilation. Following the war in 2012, UNICEF asked Sini Sanuman to undertake broader protection for women. Since 2014, Sini Sanuman has used funding from ifa/zivik to develop an innovative program for female survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). With help from its American partner, The Advocacy Project, Sini Sanuman has opened two centers in Bamako and Bourem where survivors can recover in each other’s company while receiving psychosocial support and training in clothes-making, soap making, embroidery, and home economics.
Working through animators and grassroots women’s associations, Sini Sanuman also reaches out to many more vulnerable women in Bamako and Bourem and provides practical advice on protection against SGBV. Beneficiaries who want to take their cases to court are referred to NGOs with legal expertise, and accompanied by Sini Sanuman for emotional support. In this way, the program helps the survivors to regain their confidence, recover from their trauma, and re-enter society.